An American in Paris, Dominion Theatre | Review

Tuesday 28 March 2017

An American in Paris
Dominion Theatre
Reviewed on Thursday 23rd March 2017 by Olivia Mitchell

If you've been reading this website for a while then you may remember my 'Get Excited' post last summer about An American in Paris from when I went to its press launch. From that day on I was extremely excited about the show so when I got the chance to review it I jumped! The show is visually and technically stunning and did not disappoint.  

An American in Paris tells the story of three men who fall in love with the shop assistant/ballerina Lise who is living with her own dark secret. Whilst the plot and dialogue is extremely minimal, the storytelling is done beautifully through incredible dance and Gershwin's music embodies the romantic, classic, musical theatre nostalgia which has been missing on West End stages for so long. 

When a show looks and sounds so stunning, it is easy to overlook to plot failings and just appreciate the show for the spectacle it is. In dull plot moments, the music and dance takes over with wordless ease and fluency that takes the audience into the idealistic, Parisian world.

Bob Crowley's charming artwork adorns the backdrop throughout, bringing the post-war Paris to life with a number of glimmering, shadowy sketches. The colouring of the whole production is beautiful and it's easy to feel immersed in every location throughout the show. There are show-stopping moments as well as more intimate moments, but it all feels equally well thought out and truly s'wonderful.

Jane Asher is great as Henri's mother but her accent does need a little work at times. Despite this her performance is solid and she shows the varying emotions of the character well. Christopher Wheeldon's sharp production starts off quietly with a swastika banner dramatically being unfurled to show a multicoloured flag on stage. Every moment of choreography is stunning and the whole production works cohesively together to create a visually striking show. 

Leanne Cope is absolutely exceptional as Lise, completely owning every moment on stage and performing breathtaking dance scenes with ease and elegance. Lise and Jerry have some truly beautiful scenes together with Robert Fairchild the perfect partner to Leanne. His movement is strong and striking whilst being warm and welcoming at the same time. Zoƫ Rainey is equally wonderful as the sweet Milo Davenport.

Both other men, Haydn Oakley and David Seadon-Young are brilliant in their roles and help to helm the dazzling cast. Each moment is exhilarating and radiant and the space of the large Dominion Theatre is used well. I personally think the show would work better in a more intimate theatre but there's no doubt that this production is something special. It's certainly an extravaganza which needs to be seen and is sure to leave its audience feeling warm and content. An American in Paris is a really lovely, lovely production.